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The National Board of Review Gala - Quotes and Photos

January 8, 2014  |  7:03pm
The National Board of Review Gala - Quotes and Photos

Amidst the various Guild awards announced and the growing anticipation for Sunday’s Golden Globes, some of the Oscar hopefuls gathered on the red carpet for The National Board of Review gala. The annual event, which was held at New York’s chic restaurant Cipriani’s, set the stage for this weekend’s festivities as numerous talents received big honors for their achievements in a spectacular season of cinema.

Much like the numerous critics awards that have come before it, The National Board of Review has been a player in certain victors heralded at the Golden Globes and later on at the Academy Awards. Last year Ben Affleck won the Special Achievement in Filmmaking award for Argo, which later on won the Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

In a season that’s been labeled as The Year of The Black Film, the NBRs, much like the New York Critics Circle with American Hustle and the Gotham Awards with Inside Llewyn Davis threw a few curve balls, as they named Spike Jonze’s sensational poetic film Her as Best Film and Jonze as Best Director. Other top honors went to Bruce Dern as Best Actor for his turn in Nebraska, and Emma Thompson as Best Actress for Saving Mr. Banks and Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for a Spotlight Award.

Paste had the opportunity to chat with a few of the honorees as we close in on phase 2 of the Academy Award season.

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Saving Mr. Banks’ Emma Thompson (Best Actress)

On taking on the role of P.L. Travers…
Nobody knows anything about her really, so it wasn’t as much pressure as Tom [Hanks] had for creating Walt Disney, who was so well known. In a way, I could make my own way and I could cherry pick a little bit from all of the different aspects of her life that I learned about her.

On being surprised by Travers’ unique complexity…
She’s a very good dancer, and she was quite interested in clothes, and was quite vain, and all of that attached to her rather intellectual, searching personality was very interesting to me. She was someone who could be very earnest, humorless and very difficult.

Inside Llewyn Davis’ F. Murray Abraham

On the meaning of Inside Llewyn Davis...
The cat is the nine lives of Llewyn Davis. They keep killing him, and he keeps coming back and coming back. We should try to learn from this film. This film says to starving artists that they can’t give up. You have to really love it. It’s about the life of an artist. That one scene of rejection is very common, and it’s very painful because you have all of this talent, and no one wants it, and then suddenly everybody wants it. It takes a lot of strength.

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Nebraska’s Will Forte (Best Supporting Actor)

On being new to the Awards season…
It’s so exciting to be honored. It’s just another high point in a year of incredible opportunities. I’ve never been through an awards season so it’s new, exciting, and terrifying.

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The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jon Favreau

On future projects and working with an ensemble cast…
I have a film called Chef coming out in May that I wrote and directed. I’m back to my roots. I’m happy to work with Martin Scorsese, who is my hero. Leo and Jonah are great people. Rob Reiner I got to hang out with him and he’s great. I grew up watching him on TV, so the first day when I was on set I was pretty intimidated. I showed up, and I had a whole monologue, but I didn’t chicken out.

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The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jonah Hill

On experiencing Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s working relationship…
Martin Scorsese is my favorite filmmaker of all time, and Leonardo DiCaprio is the best actor of this generation. Just to watch those two collaborate on a level I’ve never seen two people collaborate on as far as skill and quality… Those two know each other so well. I think [their] shorthand and understanding the common goal of what the film was and being aware of one another helped the film.

The Wolf of Wall Street’s Rob Reiner

On the nudity in The Wolf of Wall Street...
I didn’t get to see any girls naked or otherwise. In the movie there was a lot of naked women. It wasn’t that Marty kicked me off set, but I just wasn’t in those scenes. It’s unfortunate, because a guy of my age needs to have a little fun in his life.

On playing Leonardo DiCaprio’s father…
I liked getting the part of Leonardo DiCaprio’s father because it made me feel more handsome than I think I am.

Gravity’s Producer, David Heyman

On falling in love with Sandra Bullock…
I’m happily married, but it’s hard not to fall in love with Sandra Bullock. She is an amazing lady—humble, fun and immeasurably talented. She got into incredible shape for the film. She trained hard for six months on set every day. She’s incredible.

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Fruitvale Station’s Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress)

On creating opportunities…
I’m the type of person that doesn’t want to do anything demeaning. I’m all about creating opportunities. I think the majority of the filmmakers tonight being honored have waited for anyone to give them the opportunity to create. I’m really excited for tonight. I’m going to start running up and tackling people.

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Fruitvale Station’s Ryan Coogler (Best Directorial Debut)

On digesting the awards season…
I try not to think about it, to be honest. I just try to keep in mind about where we came from. This is a film that has an independent structure. In many ways the film barely got made but we beat the odds and got into Sundance and then we got distribution. Anything that comes forth from there I try not to think about it, because in many ways we already have the biggest award possible.

On his journey with Fruitvale Station producer Forest Whitaker…
It’s incredible to go through this with Forest. He’s been one of the most influential people that I’ve met in my career. I met him before I was a professional in film school. He and Nina Yang at Significant Productions were the first people to kind of see the potential in the project. They put their full weight in support of this project, so I’ll be forever indebted to him. Who he is as a person is an incredible example for me.

On Whitaker’s career advice…
His biggest advice always comes from a personal level. It comes from a place of humility. He told me to always be in the moment, and to not expect anything. At the end of the day, it’s about the idea that this stuff isn’t as important as the stuff at home. Who you are as a person, your family, are important—the rest of it will just take care of itself.

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